1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
In this psalm, David expresses his vulnerability before God. In spite of God’s faithfulness and call on his life, he still struggles to be safe and at peace with God. We too are invited to lift up our deepest desires, fears, and struggles and place them before God.
- Are there places or things in your life that trigger feelings of shame?
- What words might you use to lift those feelings up to God?
- Who can you pray for today who is feeling overwhelmed and filled with shame?
Gracious God, as we live in the space of your transforming our lives, we acknowledge that there are times when we feel overwhelmed by the enemies within us and the external enemies as well. Help us to live into the reality that you are trustworthy, able and willing to hold us close and keep us. Give us courage to face you in our places of shame so that you might transform us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
David expresses a desire to be taught and led by God. God is worth waiting for because in Him we find our salvation and the truth that brings freedom.
- How does God show you His ways throughout the day?
- What does waiting for God look like to you?
- Are there other things that distract you from looking to God? What can you do about that?
Gracious God, thank you that you are what we are looking for. You are worth waiting for, worth following, worth seeking. Guide us in your way. Help us to stay close enough to you and aware of you throughout the day that we might hear you and be led by you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
6 Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
David remembers God’s mercy and love, the lens through which God sees him. In seeking forgiveness, David appeals, not to his memory of his failures, but to God’s steadfast love and goodness.
- Are there regrets from your past that continue to trouble you?
- What do you hear God saying to you in the midst of those regrets?
- Where are you experiencing God’s steadfast love and mercy?
Gracious and merciful God, thank you that it is in your nature to forgive and to be merciful to us. We lay our sins and regrets before you, asking that in your mercy and forgiveness you will restore us to a relationship of wholeness with you, ourselves, and others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The psalmist turns his attention from praying to God to declaring to his audience truths about God. The themes of God teaching and leading come up again, inviting us to live in humble surrender to the words and work of God.
- Where is God at work in you, teaching you and leading you?
- Are there places in your heart where you are struggling to surrender to God?
- What would it look like to write a prayer of confession around that struggle right now?
Gracious God, you invite us to a humility that opens our heart to receive your teaching and leading in our lives. You are never done leading us along your path of steadfast love and faithfulness, so give us hearts that remain open to what you want to transform in us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who are they that fear the Lord?
He will teach them the way that they should choose.
13 They will abide in prosperity,
and their children shall possess the land.
David continues with his desire to be blameless before God, and acknowledgment that it is God’s goodness, not anything he can do, that will accomplish it. That is the fear of the Lord – the awareness that our lives are in His hands – and in that posture God guides and provides for them and their children.
- How does the awareness that our lives are in God’s hands influence how you respond to God?
- What emotions does that stir in you?
- What are your hopes for the next generation?
Gracious God, thank you for your guidance and provision that continues throughout all generations. Give us humility that acknowledges your grace and mercy to us and give us a vision for living that reflects your desire that we and the following generations flourish in your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.